These Black Circles At Airport Runways Keep Birds Away From Airplanes


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According to new research, Airplane deterrent systems do not work on Raptors i.e. Birds of Prey. However, an optical illusion may do the trick.

Collisions between planes and birds can have disastrous results. They mostly strike the aircraft in the engine or windows of the cockpit and the pilot is forced to land at the nearest airport to assess any damage to the aircraft. Since Airplane Deterrent systems do not work on Birds of Prey, they usually pose a grave problem to aircraft.

This new optical illusion looks promising in this regard. Researchers from the French National Center for Scientific Research and the University of Rennes in France conducted hundreds of tests on captive raptors to determine what patterns triggered avoidance behavior in the birds.

The tests revealed that one particular thing triggers avoidance in Raptors: A pattern consisting of concentric black circles on a white background.

According to the scientists, this pattern tends to give the “looming effect” which causes birds to think that they are about to hit something or that a collision is about to happen.

The results of the research were practically tested at Lourdes-Tarbes-Pyrénées Airport which is located to a hunting ground for raptors. Two LED screens were positioned around the runways to display the patterns throughout the day which caused the birds to avoid areas from which the screen could see. The birds instead flocked to areas where the screens were not visible.

More importantly, the birds did not adapt to the new situation and continued to avoid the screens even after the pattern had been displayed for over five weeks.

The technology holds promise for use at Airports as well windfarms and will hopefully be used at both in future.

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